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Privacy and Cookies

The Ombudsman for Children’s Office fully respects your right to privacy, and will not collect any personal information about you on this website without your clear permission.

Our Role

The Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO) is an independent statutory body, which was established in 2004 under the Ombudsman for Children Act 2002. Under the 2002 Act (as amended), the Ombudsman for Children has two core statutory functions:

  • to examine and investigate complaints made by or for children about the administrative actions, or inactions, of public bodies
  • to promote the rights and welfare of children up to the age of 18.

Purpose of the OCO’s Privacy Statement

The OCO needs personal data to fulfil its roles and to meet its legal obligations. The OCO processes (including collecting, storing and sharing) personal data about staff and about individuals who contact the OCO, take part in the OCO’s work to promote children’s rights and welfare or are involved in the OCO’s examination or investigation of complaints.

This privacy statement sets out how the OCO uses and protects your personal data, including data collected by us from your use of our websites.

Information about the OCO as Data Controller

The OCO is the Data Controller for personal data. The OCO has divided our data processing into categories so that we can give you more information about our processing. The categories are:

  • children
  • individuals involved in the examination or investigation of complaints
  • promoting the rights and welfare of children
  • promoting the work of the OCO
    • website visitors
    • social media
    • press/media and OCO followers mailing lists
    • event & workshops
    • photographs and audio recordings
  • CCTV
  • staff and job applicants

More information about our data processing for each category is available below.

Our Data Protection Commission registration number is 7901/A. You can view the Data Protection Commission register here.

We do not trade personal data for commercial purposes and will only disclose personal data if required by law, if it is necessary to arrange your event attendance, or if it is with your consent. OCO uses providers based in the European Economic Area to process data.

This policy was updated in May 2018 to show that we are adhering to the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force on25 May 2018.

Please Contact Us  for any data protection queries you have.


The OCO has two jobs:

  • to investigate complaints made by for children about public organisations
  • to promote the rights and welfare of children up to 18 years old.

We may need to know personal information about you to do these jobs. Examples of personal information we might need are your name, date of birth, address, and who your parents or guardians are. We will ask your parent’s permission if we are able to take photos of you so we can raise awareness of the work we do. See more about this in the Photographs and Audio Recording section.

We only use this information to help us understand how we can help you and to do our job. We keep this information safe in our office and only share it with the people who need to know. If we don’t get all the information we need, then we may not be able to do our jobs.

We keep the personal information for no more than three years after we finish the work that we need this information for. Where you are involved in a complaint we are dealing with, we keep a short record of what happened until you are 23 years old. This is so you can understand what happened as you may not remember when you are older. If your brother, sister or another child is involved, then we keep the shorter version until the youngest child is 23 years old.

You have rights over your personal information. You have the right to:

  • make sure the personal information we have about you is correct
  • ask us to delete your personal information
  • object to how we use your personal information
  • get a copy of your personal information from us
  • complain to the Data Protection Commission if you think we have not kept and used your personal information correctly.

Individuals involved in the OCO’s examination and investigation of complaints

The OCO has a statutory obligation to examine and investigate complaints made by or on behalf of children in relation to the administrative actions, or inactions, of reviewable agencies. These agencies are mainly public bodies such as Government departments, state agencies, schools and voluntary hospitals. We can also investigate other bodies, such as voluntary and charitable organisations, depending on their funding relationship with the Government.

The OCO collects personal data about the complainant (the person who makes the complaint), the children involved, the family and guardians of the children involved and the people who work at the agencies involved in the matter.

The OCO has statutory powers to request relevant information from relevant agencies and this may contain personal data.

The OCO may also request information, including personal information, from parents, guardians and children. Failure to provide the information or personal data may mean that we are unable to examine or investigate a complaint.

The type of personal data collected may include: names, addresses, contact details, dates of birth, gender, medical information and other special categories of personal data. We may also request personal records held by the public bodies if we need these to examine or investigate a complaint. Examples of these records can include school records, housing records, detention records, medical information, statutory care plans and child protection records.

The OCO attempts at all times to minimise the information we request from members of the public and public bodies. We only request the personal data we need to examine or investigate a complaint. The OCO is sometimes sent personal data that we have not requested. Where we identify such circumstances, we return the personal data to the sender.

We keep all personal data obtained for the purposes of examining or investigating a complaint in a file for three years after we have completed our work on the complaint. If there is no indication that we need to keep the original personal data, then we will produce a shorter record of what happened with relevant anonymised evidence. We keep a shorter record of what happened until the child who the complaint concerned is 23 years old. This is so the child can understand what happened as they may not remember. If there is more than one child involved, then we keep the shorter record until the youngest child concerned is 23 years old.

There are lawful restrictions to the right of access to information where this information relates to the examination or investigation of a complaint. The restrictions only apply to your right of access to our records about you. You may have a right of access to your personal data from the public body who supplied personal data to us.

Promoting Children’s rights and welfare

The OCO has a statutory obligation to promote the rights and welfare of children. The OCO’s duties to promote children’s rights and welfare include:

  • finding out what children and young people are concerned about and highlighting their views to the Government and other people who make decisions that affect children and young people
  • supporting people, including children and young people, to find out about children’s rights and how those rights can be respected, protected and made real
  • carrying out research to better understand issues that are important in children and young people’s lives.


  • giving advice to the Ministers of Government and others to help make sure that laws and plans affecting children and young people respect children’s rights
  • encouraging public organisations to work in ways that promote children’s rights and welfare


  • carrying out research to better understand issues that are important in children and young people’s lives.


The OCO engages with children, young people, professionals and members of the public to achieve these tasks. We collect personal data about people as necessary and appropriate. The personal information may include: name, address, age, personal circumstances, including special categories of personal data such as health, sexual orientation, religion and relevant medical information such as allergies if we provide food at consultations. We aim to minimise the personal data we collect and to anonymise it shortly after it has been collected where necessary and possible. Where the personal data is not anonymised, we retain it for a maximum of 3 years before it is destroying or deleting it.

We may contract with a research body to do primary research for us about subjects we want to learn more about. Usually, the research body is the data controller and they are responsible for how they process any personal data involved. The OCO receives an anonymised report at the end of the research.

Promoting the work of the OCO

We promote awareness of our work on children’s rights in a number of ways. These include through our websites, OCO and ItsYourRight, social media, publications, including our Annual Report, Press/Media and OCO Followers Mailing Lists, public speaking, events and workshops at our offices and other locations.

Website visitors

We use Google Analytics (GA) to track site user interaction on our websites. We have a GA code installed on our sites which creates one or more text files on your computer (called a “cookie”). The cookies contain an ID number, which is used to uniquely identify your browser and track each site you visit that has GA enabled.

We use this data to find out the number of people using our sites and to better understand how they find and use our web pages. With this information, we can continually improve the information that we provide on our sites and the processes for actions such as contacting us. We can also use it to increase the number of new people finding our sites.

Google analytics stores the following data:

  • Time of visit, pages visited, and time spent on each page of the webpages
  • Interactions with site-specific widgets
  • Referring site details (such as the URL a user came through to arrive at our sites)
  • Type of web browser
  • Type of operating system (OS)
  • Flash version, JavaScript support, screen resolution, and screen color processing ability
  • Network location and IP address
  • Document downloads
  • Clicks on links leading to external websites
  • Errors when users fill out forms
  • Clicks on videos
  • Scroll depth

Google also collects information about you from its Doubleclick tracking and profiling service, from ad-supported apps on your Android or iOS device, from your YouTube and Gmail activity and from your Google account. This data is put together and used to make inferences about your age, gender, interests, hobbies, shopping habits and living circumstances.

Your rights
If you already have GA cookies, they will be updated with the latest information about your visit to our sites.

As we cannot access any personal data about you ourselves, we are not the Data Controller for your Google Analytics or Doubleclick profile data. You would need to contact Google directly for this information.

You have the right to object to this tracking and to stop it happening. See the next section.

If you would like more information about the methods used by us, please contact us at

How do I prevent being tracked by Google Analytics?

If you are uncomfortable with this tracking, you can take the following actions:

– Use a tracking-blocker

– Clear cookies after every browsing session

– Install the Google Analytics opt-out extension

Website Contact Form Users

If you get in touch with us through the contact form on our OCO website, we save the details you share with us on our database. The OCO uses the data that you give to work out how we can answer the query or concern that you have raised with us. We also use the data to send our response to you. This way, if we get in touch with you in future, we can refer to our previous conversations. We will not contact you or share your details without asking for your consent. We keep the personal information obtained in this way for a maximum of three years, after which we keep an anonymised version.

Social Media

You may come across the OCO on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo and AudioBoom through your own networks or by linking to them from the OCO or ItsYourRight websites. We use these platforms to inform, educate and engage people about the rights of children and our work.

The OCO does not process personal data from social media platforms.

We use social media platforms because they are a valuable tool for us to raise awareness of the work we do with different audiences. The companies who own these social media platforms are commercial entities. We want to remind you that information shared by you on our timelines, on pages or in private messages on our social media may be used or sold by these companies for commercial purposes. 

Press/Media and OCO Followers Mailing Lists

OCO uses a media partner, MediaHQ, to publish news and information about the OCO. Our media partner builds its contact list from registrations to their website. We are not responsible for their activities and you should contact our partner for further information and to invoke your data rights.

OCO maintains a list of OCO Followers with whom we share news about the OCO. This is done in our legitimate interests of promoting the rights and welfare of children.

You can change your email preferences at any time, by clicking ‘unsubscribe’ on any of our emails or by contacting

OCO Events and Workshops

When you attend an OCO event or workshop, we may need your name and contact details. These are needed so that we can contact you about the event. We also collect dietary information where we are providing food. We process this information in our legitimate interests. Where we collect special categories of data, then we will require your consent.

When you book a workshop through our website then we need to know who is the group leader and contact information. We also request consent for group and individual photographs to be taken so that the OCO can raise awareness of the work we do. Please see the section on photographs and audio recordings below. Where you are booking a private event at our offices then we just need your contact details. If you or members of your group do not consent to having pictures, video or audio recordings made then that’s their right. You are still welcome to come to the event.

The OCO will retain this information for a maximum of 3 years after the event.

If you are a speaker at an OCO event, we will publicly promote your involvement via social media platforms and communication with press/media and to our followers. This data may continue to be processed by those platform providers after the event has ended. We will only do this if we have obtained your consent for this processing. If you are under the age of 18 then we will need the consent of your parents/guardians as well as your own consent to use your personal data for promotion of the event.

Photographs and Audio Recordings

When you attend an OCO event, please be aware that we may use your group or crowd images from the event in our annual report, other OCO publications, on our websites and in social media. This is done in our legitimate interests to promote the OCO’s work.

We may also take photographs, video or audio recordings that identify individuals. We will process these photographs, video and audio recordings that identify only where you have given your consent for the use of such photographs, video and audio recordings.

Where we have your consent, then names, photos/images, video/audio may be disclosed to printers, website design/management partners, and social media platforms and through corresponding OCO publications, websites and social media accounts.

The OCO will retain these photographs, images, videos and audio recordings for 3 years.


The OCO has a CCTV system operating in our office. This personal data is processed in our legitimate interests for crime-prevention, the prevention of anti-social behaviour, for the safety of our staff and for the protection of the Ombudsman for Children’s Office and its property. We keep the images for 30 days.

The landlord of our building also maintains a CCTV system. The OCO has no responsibility for the landlord’s CCTV system.

Staff and Job Applicants

If you apply to work at the OCO, we will only use the information you give us to process your application and to monitor recruitment statistics. If we want to disclose information to someone outside the OCO – for example, if we need a reference – we will make sure we ask you beforehand, unless we are required to disclose this information by law. 

If you are unsuccessful in your job application, we will hold your personal information for 6 months after we have finished recruiting for the post you applied for. When the OCO places a candidate on a panel for a permanent position of employment, the candidate’s data will be retained for 2 years, after which the panel will expire and the OCO will destroy or delete the candidate’s information.

If you begin employment with us, we will put together a file about your employment. We keep the information in this file securely, and will only use it for matters that apply directly to your employment. This may include name, contact details, date of birth, next of kin name and contact details, attendance records, leave, salary records, bank account information and taxation data.

Selected personnel records of staff may be disclosed to other Government Departments for mobility/promotion / statistical purposes. Personal details of staff are disclosed to and retained by the OCO’s accountants for payroll and auditing purposes and with our banks and Revenue.

Once you stop working for us, we will keep your personnel file according to our record retention guidelines. You can contact us to find out more about this.

Your Data Rights

As an individual whose personal data is processed by OCO, you have the following rights:

  • the right to be informed, which is what this privacy statement is for
  • the right to access the personal data we hold about you, subject to lawful restrictions
  • the right to object to direct marketing, (either use the ‘unsubscribe’ button on our emails or contact us directly)
  • the right to object to processing carried out on the basis of legitimate interests
  • the right to erasure (in some circumstances)
  • the right of data portability
  • the right to have your personal data rectified if it is inaccurate
  • the right to have your personal data restricted or blocked from processing

To exercise any of these rights, please  Contact Us on the form below. 

If you are not happy with the way we have handled your personal data, and are unable to resolve the issue with us personally, you can complain to the Data Protection Commission.

How to contact the OCO

You can write to us at:

Ombudsman for Children’s Office

Millennium House

52-56 Great Strand Street

Dublin 1, D01 F5P8


You can ring us on:

(01) 865 6800

You can contact our Data Protection Officer:

  • by writing, to the address above
  • by telephoning, on the number above
  • by email, at